EVE? Yeah, I’m still playing

It was March 7th when I posted that I’d started playing EVE Online.

Today I finished the tutorials. 🙂

Y’know you’re not finding much gaming time when every time Raptr announces that you’re playing a title someone welcomes you to the game.

After so long of sneaking in a few minutes here and there to play, while always obediently following the tutorial tracks, I found myself at a bit of a loss when I was finally done. So, once more obediently, I set my auto-pilot to take me 22 jumps to Sister Mary Elephant, or whomever that first tutorial agent…the old-school tutorial agent…sends us to.

Along the way I was playing Godfinger on my iPad, not really paying that much attention. But system after system, the security level dropped. I wasn’t flying the sweet new destroyer I’d been given at the end of the advanced combat tutorials so I wasn’t too worried. But still…

So I set down my iPad and kept my eyes peeled and sure enough! Someone locked on to me. I hit the afterburners and jumped before he fired a shot. Heck maybe he wasn’t even planning to fire a shot. But I have to say it got my heart beating!!

So now, who knows what. All my stuff is way back across the galaxy. My ‘safe’ plot took me through 0.5 systems. Maybe the Sister of Eve will send me back home to find an agent nearer to where all my ships are.

Like I said, I’m a bit adrift (no pun intended) and still struggling to decide if it makes any sense to pay for a sub when I have so little time to play. I figure with the Tyrannis (?) expansion coming soon I’ll at least stick around through that, and see what it’s all about.

I need to remember not to play EVE like other MMOs… not to go from theme park ride to theme park ride, and instead to make my own goals and work towards them. I had that clearly in mind when I started but 5 weeks of doing tutorials will kind of make a drone out of you (I should point out that 5 weeks = 7-8 playing sessions for me).

EVE noobs: losing your first ship

I lost my first ship in EVE tonight.

Yeah, I’ve been playing for a few weeks, but don’t for a second think it’s taken me this long to lose a ship due to any skill on my part. It took me this long because I don’t play much and when I do I’ve been puttering around in 1.0 space mining and junk. And this ship, to my eternal shame, was lost in a PvE Tutorial mission!

Anyway, here’s what I learned, so other EVE noobs won’t be as surprised as I was:

1) Insurance, even Platinum Insurance, isn’t going to get you a new ship. My little frigate was fully insured. Problem was that no one was selling a replacement for what the insurance company thought it was worth. So just like in real life, you’re going to have to have cash on hand to make up the difference between your insurance payout and the street cost of a new ship.

2) That said, newbie ships, at least, are pretty cheap. Don’t panic when yours goes boom! You’ll be back on your feet in no time.

3) Do shop around. By traveling 3 jumps (all through 1.0 space…I think I could’ve flown my pod but I didn’t) I saved about 40% of the cost of my replacement ship. Yes, and still the insurance payout wasn’t enough. At my local station, the ship I was replacing was going for more than twice the insurance payout.

4) Be prepared to refit. I had plenty of weapons and afterburners and stuff; but I had no ammo! Not a single slug. I had more than I could ever use in the ship I lost. So in future I’ll remember to carry only as much ammo as I’ll need for the mission at hand. Not that noob ammo is all that expensive but it’s just so wasteful losing so much to the void…

Hmmm, it just occurred to me… I wonder if I could’ve flown back out to my own wreck and salvaged from it? Does anyone know?

Weekend recap

I realized it’s been a full week since my last post here at Dragonchasers. In an attempt to convince my 4 readers not to ditch this RSS feed, I figured I’d share what my gaming’s been looking like recently.

Life has been super-busy lately, leaving not too much time for gaming. While I lament that fact often, the truth is that with scarcity comes value. When I *do* get to relax and play a game, I’m really enjoying myself.

My experiment in EVE continues. I’m *still* on my trial account but plan on switching over to a paying account when it finally runs out. I’m still learning a ton of new things in every play session, as infrequent as they are. I’ve gotten sucked into that mindset that thinks it’s ok to pay $15/month to log into a game once or twice a week since my character is still learning even when I can’t play. That’s a bit of genius on the part of CCP! Yesterday I finally went through an entire tutorial mission sequence (yes, I’m very much still doing the bidding of the Civilian/Tutorial agents), culminating in a rather difficult assignment to take a particularly irksome pirate. I limped home with 15% hull integrity and my pulse racing. So now I’m hooked.

Last Tuesday I started playing FF XIII; this seems to be a divisive title. Some people love it, others hate it. My feelings toward the game have been following a sin wave. I loved it at first, then started getting down on it, but now the love is coming back. Once the spectacle of the graphics and sounds wore off I was a bit bored with gameplay, but finally I’m getting new options and have hit some challenging bits. And I’ve found this isn’t the kind of game I can sit down and play for marathon sessions. I like it the most when I play for about an hour (which means I’ll be playing it for a *long* time). Happily save points are frequent enough that I can do that. (Can you believe some folks are upset with the frequency of Save Points? Considering they function as Shops and Workbenches as well as places to save, that seems…well… dumb. If you don’t want to use one, just go past it.)

Lastly I continue to struggle with Echo Bazaar. Or rather, Echo Bazaar continues to struggle with me. This is a wonderfully written web-based grind-fest. The problem seems to be that it is a victim of its own success. The site is glacially slow most of the time, turning a delightful little diversion into an exercise in frustration. And yet I keep going back to it to see what new Opportunities have arisen. Someone needs to write a book based in Fallen London!

And that’s about all of my gaming for the past week! Sad, no?

But PAX East is coming the weekend after next and I’m taking off a few days around it. Hopefully I’ll be able to catch up on my gaming then. As for catching up on my blogging? I’m not sure when I’ll find time for that! Thanks for sticking around, though!

The EVE rite of noobness passage

Stargrace is the first one I heard use the term “Nomadic Gamer” and I’ve decided I like that a lot more than “MMO Tourist.” Tourist to me has a negative connotation. You can travel a lot, visit many places and as long as you show some respect for the people, places & cultures you’re visiting, you won’t be considered a tourist.

[I should point out that I grew up in a summer resort so I may have a more negative reaction to the word “tourists” (which in my family was *always* preceded by the word “damned”) than most.]

Anyway, dissembling out of the way, I’ve decided to follow Stargrace and Petter into EVE. This is not technically my first visit; I played back when the game first launched, and once, very briefly, since. But I kept hearing about how the game had changed.

Now I was always an enthusiastic EVE Observer; I loved reading the stories about wars and scams and deals that went down in the game. But I assumed there was no place for someone like me; someone not willing to commit to playing a single MMO as his main leisure time activity. But Stargrace convinced me otherwise; or at least convinced me enough to give the game a try. A *generous* 21-day trial (as long as a current player invites you) really helped in this decision. I’d heard the horror stories of the steep learning curve and knew that if I tried to force myself to learn the basics of the game in a short time I’d walk away in disgust. [Darkfall’s $1, 7-day trial leaves a bitter taste in my mouth after learning of EVE’s free 21-day trial.]

I’ve been taking things very slowly indeed. Two challenges I face: 1) there’s a lot to learn that isn’t at all obvious (as Blue Kae pointed out to me…prior MMO know-how isn’t very useful here) and after a long day of coding and writing for my two jobs, it’s hard to get enthusiastic about stuffing more content into my tired brain. And 2) laugh if you will, but EVE is the only PC game I’ve played that makes me put on my reading glasses. Even with the on-screen font bumped up to 12 pt, wide (the max it will go), I can’t read it without glasses. Which means I have to lean forward to play so that the glasses will focus on the screen. Silly, but it means my eyes tire very quickly while playing. I’m hoping this eases up some when I’m not reading tutorials constantly.

But I started Thursday night, and this morning I hit that point that every EVE ultra-noob eventually comes to:

Yes, I’m doing the Mining Tutorial! With this new-found knowledge, the world galaxy is my oyster!

Kidding aside, figuring things out and learning a game that’s so markedly different is turning out to be a heck of a lot of fun, as long as I go at my own pace. It really, *really* helps to have a group of folks willing to offer help and advice when I get lost. Petter formed a little Corps that has a nice handful of Twitter/Buzz/Blogger types in it, and that helps a bunch too. Nice to have a channel where I can ask dumb questions and not be (maliciously, at least!) laughed at.

Now I guess I need to go track down the EVEMon program and see what that’s all about. Until the next green pasture of MMO goodness beckons, I’ll see you Nomads in EVE!